Yes, the game known as RISK! is copyrighted and well-baked. That doesn't mean the average game-owner can't devise a variation that, in his or her opinion, enhances the play of the game. So, if you like the game, perhaps you will like this variant:
In preparation for starting the game, each player
is dealt one card from the deck, and places three army units in the Territory specified on the card.
Generally, each Player will be surrounded by Neutral Territories (unoccupied by any Player) at the start of the game. On those occasions when some Players are randomly located next to each other, it is each Player's choice to either accept the situation, or be dealt a new card, which will indicate a different Territory from which to begin the goal of conquering all the other Players.
The cards are returned to the deck, and the game can now begin. The First Player, and Sequence of Players, are decided in the usual manner. At the beginning of each Player's turn, quantities of reinforcement armies are also computed in the usual manner (the rock-bottom minimum happens to be three).
When Players attack each other in the course of the game, all the rules are the same, EXCEPT that an Attacker can keep attacking, if desired, until ALL of his or her armies are lost -- and thereby is evicted from the Game. Any Territory that is exhausted of armies (by whatever means), when a Player's turn ends, will afterwards be treated like any Neutral Territory.
When a Player decides to attack a Neutral Territory, exactly one die is rolled. If a "one" or a "two" shows up, the Player loses an army. If a "five" or a "six" shows up, the Player conquers the Territory, and must move at least one army into it. And, the FIRST time a "three" or a "four" shows up, the Player now has a choice:
(1) The Attacking Player can INSIST on conquering the Territory. In this case the Attacker will lose an army right now. Furthermore, for the rest of his or her Turn, whenever any attacks are made against that Territory, the Player will continue to lose an army each time a "three" or a "four" turns up. If the Player breaks off the attack, then that counts as no-longer-INSISTING on conquest. On the NEXT Turn, if the Player chooses to attack that Territory again, and a "three" or a "four" turns up, then the same choice as before is again offered. The alternative to INSISTING on conquest of a Neutral Territory is this:
(2) The Player is no longer allowed to attack that particular Neutral Territory in this Turn. But the Player may MOVE THROUGH the Neutral Territory, by moving one or more armies into it, and IMMEDIATELY taking some action that will remove ALL those armies from that Neutral Territory, in the current Turn. Usually the Player will begin to attack some neighboring Territory (or Territories), using the temporarily-occupied Neutral as a base. In this case the Player MUST attack until all those moved-in armies are moved out -- or are lost. Alternately, the Player can use the Free Move to pull the armies from the Neutral Territory (but then the Player's Turn is over, a standard rule).
In this variant of RISK!, ownership of Territories is NEVER mandatory. It is, of course, generally a highly desired thing, because the more Territories you own, the more reinforcement armies you get at the beginning of your Turn. Nevertheless, if occasion warrants the complete abandonment of some Territory that you do own, you are free to do so, via either the Free Move to, or attritive attacking of, or successful attacking of, some neighboring Territory.
It can be convenient sometimes to put some Neutrals between you and a more-powerful Player. And note that to win, you only have to eliminate the other Players; you don't have to conquer every Territory on the map.
The main advantage of these rules is that they greatly reduce the chance that, in a two-person Game, the first Player will win. I need to acknowledge my cousin, Darrell Grimes, as co-developer of these rules, in the early 1970s. Hope you like them!
P.S. It appears that one point was left out: To earn a card from the deck, conquest of a Neutral does not count. Cards can only be earned by conquering a Territory occupied by some other player.